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Do Deer Eat Rhubarb Plants? Protect with These Tips!

Do Deer Eat Rhubarb Plants?

Are you a rhubarb enthusiast, eagerly tending to your garden in hopes of a bountiful harvest of this fruit? Well, picture this: you wake up one morning to find your precious rhubarb plants, with their narrow leaves, nibbled on and trampled. Who could be the culprit behind this leafy massacre? You might be surprised to learn that deer have a peculiar fascination with rhubarb plants, which are both a fruit and an herb.

These majestic creatures, known for their grace and gentle demeanor, can wreak havoc on your beloved garden. The impact of deer on rhubarb gardens is not to be underestimated. They can devour rhubarb leaves, stems, and even uproot entire plants in their quest for a tasty treat.

But fear not! There are strategies you can employ to protect your rhubarbs, a type of resistant plant, from these voracious visitors. From installing fences and using repellents to exploring natural deterrents, we’ll delve into effective methods that will keep those pesky deer away from your rhubarb fruit and stalks.

So, if you’re tired of waking up to a scene of destruction in your garden paradise filled with rhubarbs, fruit, and sorrel plants, join us as we uncover the curious relationship between deer and these leafy treasures. Get ready to arm yourself with knowledge and defend your garden against these hungry intruders by using compost!

Now let’s explore the world of deer and their interaction with rhubarbs, the texture of these plants, and their resistance to deer. Additionally, we will touch upon the scented nature of certain plants.

do deer eat rhubarb plants

The Relationship Between Deer and Rhubarb Plants

Examining the dynamics between deer and rhubarb plants

Rhubarb plants, known for their vibrant red stalks and large green leaves, are favored by gardeners and culinary enthusiasts for their unique texture and taste. However, these plants can also attract deer due to the high oxalate content in the rhubarbs. Protecting gardens from potential damage caused by deer is essential for those who cultivate rhubarbs.

Deer are known for their grazing habits, feeding on a variety of vegetation including grasses, herbs, shrubs, and rhubarb plants. They have been known to nibble on rhubarb leaves due to their texture.

Understanding how deer perceive and interact with rhubarb

Deer are attracted to plants with high water content, such as rhubarbs, due to their strong scent. This attraction is particularly noticeable during dry periods. Their keen sense of smell helps them locate food sources rich in oxalate.

However, despite their attraction to the plant’s aroma and moisture content, deer do not typically find rhubarb leaves palatable due to their bitter taste caused by the presence of oxalic acid. While humans can consume small amounts of oxalic acid without harm, it has poisonous effects on certain animals when ingested in large quantities.

Investigating if there is a natural attraction or aversion between them

The relationship between deer and rhubarb plants can vary depending on factors such as geographical location and availability of alternative food sources. In areas where food is scarce or competition for resources is high, deer may resort to consuming less desirable plant species like rhubarbs.

On the other hand, some gardeners report that deer tend to avoid eating their rhubarb plants altogether. This could be attributed to several reasons, such as the taste or scent of the rhubarbs.

  1. Bitter taste: The bitter taste of rhubarb leaves may deter deer from consuming rhubarbs, as animals often associate bitterness with toxicity.
  2. Toxicity: While the oxalic acid in rhubarb leaves can be harmful to animals in large quantities, deer have evolved to recognize and avoid potentially toxic plants.
  3. Availability of alternatives: If there are abundant food sources available for deer, they may not feel the need to target rhubarb plants.

Protecting your rhubarb from deer damage

If you’re concerned about deer damaging your rhubarb plants, there are several strategies you can employ:

  1. Fencing: Installing a sturdy fence around your garden or individual plants can effectively keep deer out.
  2. Repellents: Using commercial or homemade repellents that have strong scents or tastes can discourage deer from approaching your rhubarbs.
  3. Companion planting: Planting deer-resistant species alongside your rhubarb can help deter these animals from venturing into your garden.
  4. Scare tactics: Implementing scare devices such as motion-activated sprinklers or noise-making devices can startle and frighten away deer from the rhubarb plant.

do deer eat rhubarb plants

Understanding the Impact of Deer on Rhubarb Gardens

The Trouble with Hungry Deer

Deer may seem like harmless creatures, butThey can wreak havoc. These graceful animals have a voracious appetite and are known to munch on just about anything in their path – including your precious rhubarb plants. Let’s delve into the potential damage caused by deer in rhubarb gardens and explore how their grazing habits can affect the overall health of your plants.

A Threat to Plant Health

When deer feast on your rhubarb plants, they not only strip away leaves and stems but also hinder their growth and development. The constant nibbling can weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to diseases and pests. Moreover, deer often leave behind jagged edges after chomping on the foliage, which opens up pathways for harmful pathogens to infiltrate the plant.

Economic Implications for Rhubarb Crops

The impact of deer damage extends beyond mere aesthetics; it also carries significant economic consequences for rhubarb farmers. With each bite taken by these hungry herbivores, potential revenue is lost. Farmers invest time, effort, and resources into cultivating healthy crops only to find them decimated by deer overnight. This loss directly affects their livelihoods and disrupts the supply chain for consumers who rely on fresh rhubarb produce.

To better understand the extent of this issue, let’s take a closer look at some key points regarding deer’s impact on rhubarb gardens:

  1. Crop Yield Reduction: Deer feeding on rhubarb plants can lead to reduced yields as damaged plants struggle to produce an abundant harvest.
  2. Quality Compromise: The quality of rhubarb harvested from damaged plants may be compromised due to stunted growth or uneven ripening caused by deer grazing.
  3. Increased Farming Expenses: Farmers have to invest additional resources in protective measures such as fences, repellents, or scare tactics to deter deer from their rhubarb gardens.
  4. Crop Replacement Costs: In severe cases of deer damage, farmers may need to replant entire sections of their rhubarb gardens, incurring additional expenses for new plants and labor.
  5. Lost Market Opportunities: When rhubarb crops suffer due to deer grazing, farmers may struggle to meet market demands and miss out on potential sales opportunities.

do deer eat rhubarb plants

Examining the Deer’s Diet: Is Rhubarb a Preferred Food?

Investigating whether rhubarb is a preferred food for deer.

Deer are notorious for their voracious appetites, butDo they consider them a delicacy or simply pass them by? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of the deer’s diet and find out if rhubarb makes it onto their menu.

Deer are known to be opportunistic eaters, consuming a wide variety of plant material to meet their nutritional needs. While they may not actively seek out rhubarb plants as their first choice, hungry deer will not hesitate to munch on these leafy greens if other food sources are scarce.

Identifying other food sources that may compete with or deter them from eating rhubarb.

To understand why deer might not prioritize rhubarb in their diet, we need to explore the availability of alternative food sources that could be more appealing. Here are some options that can compete with or deter deer from devouring your precious rhubarb:

  1. Nutritious Forage: Lush grasses, clover patches, and tender young shoots often take precedence over tougher rhubarb leaves.
  2. Tasty Rhubarb Plant Shrubs and Trees: Deer have an affinity for browsing on woody vegetation like rhubarb plant shrubs and tree saplings.
  3. Garden Delights: Vegetable gardens filled with delectable crops such as carrots, lettuce, and beans can divert deer attention away from your rhubarb plants.
  4. Wildflowers and Weeds: Fields adorned with wildflowers or abundant weed growth provide an enticing buffet for hungry deer.

While these alternatives may not completely discourage deer from sampling your rhubarb plants, they offer more appealing options that could reduce the likelihood of significant damage.

Exploring factors that influence a deer’s dietary preferences.

Several factors influence a deer’s dietary preferences, and understanding these can help us comprehend why rhubarb may not be at the top of their menu. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Nutritional Value: Deer have specific dietary requirements, and they instinctively seek out foods that provide essential nutrients. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalate crystals, specifically calcium oxalate, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.
  2. Taste and Palatability: Deer possess a keen sense of taste and will often avoid bitter or unpalatable foods. The high levels of oxalate acid found in rhubarb leaves could deter deer from indulging too heavily.
  3. Seasonal Availability: Deer adapt their diet based on what is available during different seasons. When other food sources are abundant, such as during spring when new growth emerges, deer might overlook rhubarb.

It’s important to note that while deer may not actively seek out rhubarb plants due to these factors, they might still nibble on them if no better options are available.

Strategies to Protect Rhubarb from Deer Damage

Introducing effective strategies to safeguard rhubarb from hungry deer.

Deer can be a real nuisance. These voracious creatures have an insatiable appetite for the tender leaves and stalks of rhubarb, often leaving gardeners frustrated and disappointed. But fear not! There are several strategies you can employ to protect your beloved rhubarb from becoming a deer’s favorite snack.

Discussing physical barriers as a means of protection against browsing animals like deer.

One of the most effective ways to keep deer at bay is by erecting physical barriers around your rhubarb plants. Here are some options:

  1. Fencing: Install a sturdy fence around your garden or individual plants. Opt for a fence that is at least 8 feet tall, as deer are excellent jumpers.
  2. Netting: Drape netting over the rhubarb plants to create an invisible shield that prevents deer from reaching them.
  3. Cages: Construct wire cages around each plant, ensuring they are tall enough to deter any curious deer.

Remember, it’s important to secure these barriers firmly into the ground so that crafty deer cannot find their way underneath.

Highlighting non-lethal methods to discourage deer from consuming rhubarb plants.

If you’re looking for non-lethal ways to deter deer from feasting on your rhubarb, here are some tried-and-true methods:

  1. Repellents: Utilize commercially available repellents that emit odors or tastes unpleasant to deer. Apply these products directly onto the foliage or place deterrent devices near the plants.
  2. Motion-Activated Sprinklers: Install motion-activated sprinklers in your garden that will startle and spray water at any approaching deer.
  3. Noise Makers: Hang wind chimes, aluminum foil strips, or even old CDs around the garden to create noise and scare off deer.

Remember to rotate your repellents periodically as deer can become accustomed to certain smells or sounds over time.

By implementing these strategies, you can protect your rhubarb plants from becoming a deer’s midnight snack. Whether it’s through physical barriers or non-lethal deterrents, there are plenty of options available to keep these hungry herbivores at bay. So go ahead and safeguard your rhubarb patch – your future pies and jams will thank you!


To protect your rhubarb plants from being devoured by deer, it is crucial to implement effective strategies for deterring these animals. Understanding the relationship between deer and rhubarb plants, as well as the impact of deer on rhubarb gardens, is essential in finding the best methods to safeguard your crops.

Deer are known to have a significant impact on rhubarb gardens, often causing extensive damage. While they may not consider rhubarb as their preferred food, they will still consume it if other options are limited. Therefore, taking proactive measures to prevent deer from accessing your garden is vital.

Various strategies can be employed to protect your rhubarb from deer damage. Fencing off the garden area with sturdy materials such as wire mesh or electric fencing can serve as an effective deterrent. Using natural repellents like strong-smelling soaps or predator urine can help keep deer at bay.

It’s important to remember that no single method guarantees complete protection against deer. Employing a combination of tactics and regularly monitoring your garden for signs of deer activity will increase your chances of success in safeguarding your rhubarb plants.

In conclusion, protecting your precious rhubarb plants from hungry deer requires proactive measures and a keen understanding of their behavior. By implementing effective deterrents and remaining vigilant, you can enjoy bountiful harvests without worrying about unwelcome visitors feasting on your crops.


Q: Are there any natural remedies I can use to deter deer from eating my rhubarb?

A: Yes! Natural repellents such as strong-smelling soaps or predator urine can help deter deer from approaching your rhubarb plants.

Q: Will fencing alone be enough to keep deer away from my garden?

A: While fencing is an effective deterrent, some determined or hungry deer may still find ways to breach it. Combining fencing with other strategies like repellents can provide added protection.

Q: How often should I monitor my garden for signs of deer activity?

A: Regular monitoring is crucial, especially during times when deer are more active, such as early morning or late evening. Check for tracks, droppings, or any damage to your plants.

Q: Can I use commercial deer repellents instead of natural remedies?

A: Yes! Commercial deer repellents are available and can be effective in deterring deer from your rhubarb plants. Follow the instructions carefully for optimal results.

Q: Are there any specific types of fencing that work best against deer?

A: Deer can jump high, so fences should ideally be at least 8 feet tall. Using materials like wire mesh or electric fencing can help prevent them from accessing your garden.